Why do women struggle to see themselves as leaders?
Recognising other women as leaders is easy, right? You see women in the public eye like Michelle Obama, Jacinda Ardern and Oprah Winfrey and think how amazing they are.
Even in your own life, you may look at women you know and admire their talents, their energy and their successful approach to leadership. You see them managing their lives and their children, supporting their partners, pursuing their careers and the causes they’re passionate about.
You find yourself inspired by the way they set the example for others by being positive, supporting and kind, but when you try and apply those same amazing qualities to yourself, however, it can be a struggle. “They’re really great…” you might think, “..but that could never be me!”
You don’t see yourself as a leader and are worried that you won’t achieve the success you want or see in others, but in reality you may not see that you’re essentially doing the same thing!
What are your reasons?
There could be many potential reasons why you might not be feeling your leadership powers, and I’ve listed some of the more common ones below This list is definitely not exhaustive, and you might not resonate with all of them, but hopefully they will allow you to expand and explore your own thoughts and emotions.
· You compare yourself unfavourably to others, especially on social media
· You don’t speak up enough, and don’t feel heard when you do
· You don’t feel you have the credibility to propose new ideas or challenge old ways of working
· You don’t think you’re good enough
· You downplay your own efforts and skills
· You don’t feel you have any ambition
· You don’t feel you have the confidence to be a leader
· You feel like a fraud in the workplace
So if you are struggling to see yourself as a leader, how do you discover the right mentality?
Recognise the signs
We all have a pesky inner critic in our head that whispers self-sabotaging messages to us, and this happens to even the most inspiring of leaders.
The worst part is that not only do we listen to those thoughts, we believe them and then feel worse about ourselves. You may not even realise this is happening, or deep down you know you’re self-sabotaging but we don’t know how to stop it. I can’t stress enough that we all feel like this at times, and I have four great ways to dismiss those self-saboteurs and embrace your amazing leader qualities:
1. Acknowledgement. One of the most useful tools in coaching is acknowledgement, and having the ability to acknowledge yourself.
We usually expect acknowledgement to come from others, but if you work for a boss or in a team that doesn’t acknowledge you then you can feel deflated and unappreciated. In those situations, being able to acknowledge yourself and giving yourself a pat on the back can take the focus away from negative thoughts and feelings.
It can also help to have an ‘acknowledgement swap’ with someone you trust once a week. You can do this however you like – over text, a phone call, or even by writing a letter! However you do it, I guarantee that over time it’ll help boost your self-confidence and self-belief, making you feel happy and positive into the bargain.
2. Set goals. Effective and successful people have a clear vision, they set goals and take action to work towards them. You will find this is most rewarding when you can commit to doing this on a regular basis.. This can be a challenge, but you get out what you put in. Consistent effort with goal setting will pay dividends when you know what you want and that you’re taking action to achieving it.
3. Ask for help. One of the main reasons you might not feel comfortable asking for help is because you don’t see this as a leadership quality. You don’t want to appear weak and needy and may be scared of the result.
Being humble enough to ask for help when you need it, however, is a great leadership quality and not only shows the high level of judgement and consideration you have; but demonstrates your trust in others to help you.
Think about when people have genuinely asked you for your help and support, and I’d imagine that you’re only too pleased to be asked, offering any assistance that you can.
It’s the same for the people you ask and it empowers not only you,but them as well. It doesn’t have to be a large request, start with something small and see how your mentality changes.
4. Collaborate with others. Working together as part of a team is great fun; it’s productive and builds relationships. . In a team you can rotate the leadership roles to develop individual skills and abilities, to get to know your own style, and to observe how others choose to lead. This inclusive approach to learning helps with your own self-awareness; as you’ll become more aware of the areas where you are at your best and those where you want to develop further.
I hope my thoughts have inspired you and got you thinking about the ways you can start feeling like a leader.
My mission is to support women to bring all of yourself into how you lead. You don’t need to lose your femininity and compete with men. You can lead from the heart and, most importantly be your best self. I’m always open to chatting to women like you who want to make step up more as leaders and, let’s face it, the world needs more great leaders right now.
My online membership group The Leadership Confidential, has been exclusively designed to help both corporate women as well as small business owners become successful leaders. It’s a place where you can create meaningful connection, learn the secrets of your own leadership style and be supported and guided to take charge of your career and you can find out more here.
Get in touch and ask me what you would like to know about how I can help you, I’m always happy to book in time for you to chat with me:
I am also live every weekday at 11am in my free Facebook group Stay social, Stay sane. I set this up as a virtual staff room for people to connect while we’re all in lock down, and if you want to join us just invite yourself and pop in.
If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.